ENVE launches more affordable wheels (but they’ll still cost you £1,800)

Foundation Collection road and mountain bike rims still made in the USA

ENVE Foundation Collection wheels

The Foundation Collection is a new line of (comparatively) more affordable road and mountain bike wheels from ENVE that take advantage of improvements in manufacturing efficiency and cheaper hubs to drop roughly £1,000 from the cost of its existing wheelsets, taking the wheels down to £1,800 / $1,600 / €1,800 / AU$2,250. 

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All of the rims in the Foundation Collection are still produced in the USA, with the new price tag said to make ownership of ENVE’s premium wheels “more accessible than ever”.

ENVE Foundation Collection 45 and 65 road wheels

ENVE Foundation Collection Road wheels
The wheels are based on existing ENVE rim profiles.
ENVE
  • Foundation Collection road wheels available in 45 and 65mm depths
  • Disc-only
  • 21mm-wide (internal) hookless profile
  • 1,620g for 65mm wheelset, 1,540g for 45mm wheelset (claimed weights) 

Kicking things off is the brand’s new Foundation Collection 45 and 65 road wheels.

These disc-only wheels are based on the brand’s existing rim profiles though, unlike the brand’s top-end SES rims – which feature different rim profiles that are claimed to be optimised for front or rear placement – the same profile is used on both wheels. 

ENVE claims that wheels are most efficient “when paired with a 25mm tubeless road tire” and that, if you wish to user wider tyres, “aerodynamic losses are minimized by the efficiency of the rim’s shape”.

The press release for the wheels adds that “[aerodynamic] losses are readily recovered by the rolling efficiencies gained from the higher volume tire”.

While this can be true in theory, we’d want to see data around ENVE’s testing before taking these claims at face value. 

The wheels are both tubeless compatible, with a 21mm wide (internal) hookless rim profile. 

ENVE states that it opted for a hookless profile as any reliable road tubeless setup relies on a precise rim/tyre interface and that going hookless allowed the brand to “consistently produce the critical dimensional tolerances tubeless requires”.

In a move we wish brands would adopt universally, ENVE is due to publish a list of tyres that it has tested in-house and found to be a reliable and safe match with its wheels. 

Taking this guesswork out for consumers while the road tubeless tyre market remains as volatile as it is admirable. 

ENVE Foundation Collection Road wheels
ENVE deserves praise for publishing a list of tyres that the wheels will work with.
ENVE

The wheels are built around a new ENVE-designed hub and are laced with Sapim CX Sprint spokes. Based on Mavic’s ID360 freehub body, the new Foundation Road Alloy hubs feature an “automatic preload system” that is said to make the hubs maintenance-free, “eliminating the possibility that the hub will develop play”. 

Exactly how this is accomplished isn’t explained in the press release, but looking on the ENVE site it appears that a wavy washer applies preload to the bearings and will take up any slack as the bearings wear. 

There is no mention of the rims being available to buy separately, but we expect they’ll only be available as a complete wheelset. 

ENVE Foundation AM30 mountain bike wheelset

ENVE AM30 wheels
A mountain bike wheelset is also being launched.
ENVE
  • 30mm-wide (internal) trail wheelset
  • Industry Nine 1/1 hubs
  • 27in wheelset – 1,745g (claimed weight) / 29in wheelset – 1,850g (claimed weight)

A new mountain bike wheelset – the AM30 – is also being launched alongside the road wheels.

Said to be suited to trail riding, the 30mm wide (internal) wheels are designed to work best with tyres sized 2.3in to 2.6in wide. The wheels are available in both 27.5in and 29in sizes.

The wheels are built around Industry Nine’s 1/1 hubs and are laced with Sapim Race spokes. 

ENVE Lifetime Protection scheme still applies

All three wheelsets in the Foundation Collection are backed by ENVE’s Lifetime Incident Protection scheme.

In short, with this scheme, if you damage your ENVE wheels – even in a spectacular crash that was completely your own fault – the brand will replace them, no questions asked. 

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If you’re the sort of rider that makes a habit of trashing super-expensive carbon wheels, this could make them a very compelling option.